Jason Kendall
William Paterson University
Amateur Astronomers Association of New York

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June 6: Night 33/ 100: GREAT NIGHT!
June 6, 2009

It was a wonderful night. And those who did not join us, you missed a rare celestial phenomenon. As the full Moon rose, it passed in front of Antares. This only happens for New Yorkers once every 30 years or so. So as the evening wore on, it became clear that the Moon was making mincemeat of the dim Messier objects, and even making naked-eye nighting of the brightest stars difficult.

Steve came up late, an avid amateur who knew his way around the sky. He reminded me about the occultation, so we stayed through the whole thing. I called up Donna to make sure she was OK with me being up at all hours in the Park. Anyway, Antares through a telescope next to the Moon is brilliant. Its distinct red color jumps out next to the stark white and gray of the Moon. As it got closer and closer, we all got excited. Then it was gone! For 25 minutes, the star was behind the Moon as our nearest neighbor whizzed around the Earth.

Well, when it reappeared, Steve and I revelled in it. What a great view! I took a few snaps of it with my blackberry camera held up to the eyepiece. And here is one of them below.


Thanks to Fred for helping me with chalk and with carrying the telescope up the hill. Time for a new transport method.

About Jason Kendall

I am currently adjunct faculty at William Paterson University teaching astronomy. I hold a Master of Science in Astronomy from New Mexico State University. I am also a board member of the Amateur Astronomers Association of New York. Since 2008, I have led the Inwood Astronomy Project which brought over 200 events of stargazing and public astronomy outreach to upper Manhattan, including the historic Inwood Star Fest, where Inwood Hill Park lights were turned off as part of the 100 Hours of Astronomy event in IYA2009. This was the first time in New York City history when park lights were turned off for an astronomy event. I've also focused on park safety due to an uptick in sexual assaults in Washington Heights and Inwood during 2011. I've worked to make our parks safer by encouraging public use of parks at night through night-time events with Park Rangers. I have led numerous "starwatching parties" and astronomy events in New York City, New Mexico, Minnesota, New Jersey, Connecticut and Texas. I am also proud to have been part of the NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador Program from 2009 to 2012. It all started way back in the fourth grade by the encouragement of two noted astronomers, Charles Schweighauser and Bart Bok. I saw Saturn through Charlie's telescope at then Sangamon State University on a clear Illinois night, and Bart encouraged me under those stars to study hard to come visit him at Kitt Peak National Observatory. I finally did make it down there about a decade after Bart passed away, and I found the favorite spots in Tucson, Arizona, where Bart and his wife Priscilla would spend when they were not gazing at the stars. Bart and his wife were pioneers in the study of the Milky Way, and their studies of the starforming regions called Bok Globules. It's even in my family. My great-grandfather was a Midwestern minister who used to preach his sermons out under the dark, cloudless nights. He always believed that getting out and experiencing the wonders of the natural world was a central part of being human. My family has always been inspired by his words: "We look up to look within." I hope that you'll join me under the stars or at one of my talks.

Come see what's up in the sky!

Jason Kendall

We look up to look within

William Paterson University Department of Physics American Astronomical Society Astronomical Society of the Pacific Amateur Astronomers Association of New York

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